Shettima: Tinubu Ready to Eliminate Bottlenecks Affecting MSME Space

Shettima: Tinubu Ready to Eliminate Bottlenecks Affecting MSME Space

•FG set to formalise one million businesses at discounted rate

•VP visits IDP camp, promises more humanitarian aid, skills development

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The federal government has announced plans to formalise one million businesses across Nigeria at a discounted rate.

Vice President Kashim Shettima, in a statement  issued by his media assistant, Stanley Nkwocha, disclosed this yesterday, when he launched the Expanded National MSME Clinic in Makurdi, Benue State capital, marking the first stop on a nationwide journey to empower small and medium-sized businesses.

The vice president stressed that President Bola Tinubu was committed to resolving the bottlenecks affecting the MSME space in Nigeria and would persist until the issues were resolved.

Shettima noted that the N75 billion loan scheme from Bank of Industry (BOI) and Access Bank’s discounted N50 billion fund offer was already in place as crucial financial support for entrepreneurs.

The MSME Clinic, the first of its kind under the President Bola Tinubu administration, aims to empower micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by breaking down barriers and providing crucial resources.

Benue’s pioneership of the MSME Clinic sets the stage for a nationwide rollout scheduled to traverse Ebonyi, Ogun, Delta, Kaduna, Borno, Katsina States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in a meticulously planned itinerary for the first half of 2024.

This would culminate in the National MSME Awards, a fitting celebration of entrepreneurial spirit coinciding with World MSME Day, on June 27, 2024 in Abuja.

Addressing a mammoth crowd of entrepreneurs and stakeholders at the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) square in Makurdi, Shettima emphasised the federal government’s commitment to creating a thriving MSME ecosystem.

He acknowledged the crucial role MSMEs play in job creation and economic development, even as he pledged government’s unwavering support to empower them.

“We have everything to guide your ambition,” the vice president assured while delivering his speech titled, “Benue State: Nurturing Enterprises, Embracing Prosperity.”

He said, “We currently have in place a N75 billion nine per cent single-digit loan from BOI. Additionally, Access Bank has made N50 billion of their fund available to MSMEs at a discounted rate of 15 per cent, which could significantly increase based on loan performance.

“Mr. President is committed to resolving the bottlenecks affecting the MSME space in Nigeria and will persist until these issues are resolved.”

Shettima hailed the state’s industrious spirit and entrepreneurial drive, describing it as a “beacon of inspiration” for the entire country.

“This clinic isn’t just about fulfilling President Tinubu’s promise,” declared Shettima, adding that “it’s a tribute to Benue’s unmatched work ethic and entrepreneurial drive.”

Lauding the state’s dedication to agriculture, art and commerce, he pointed out that, “these stand as a testament to the remarkable productivity ingrained within the core of Benue State.

“Every business owner in Benue, whether in Makurdi or Otukpo, Gboko or Katsina-Ala, is a priority,” he added.

The vice president also announced plans by Tinubu for a world-class fashion hub in Makurdi, dedicated to the state’s thriving tailoring cluster which, according to him, is set to be operational within 90 days.

“Now, hear another piece of good news from Mr. President: His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed, has unveiled the plan to establish a world-class fashion hub in Makurdi for use by small businesses in the tailoring cluster in the state. This hub will be ready in 90 days,” Shettima further said.

Earlier in his address, the state Governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, declared that Benue State was open for business, just as he emphasised the state’s commitment to supporting and empowering small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) as a key driver of economic growth.

The Governor highlighted the diverse range of MSMEs thriving in Benue, from organic food producers like Andor Global Foods to innovative motorcycle builders and traditional attire weavers.

He also celebrated Aorkwagh Farms’ work in regenerative farming and the “Made in Benue” brand’s creativity as examples of the state’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Alia, who lauded their contributions to local agriculture, healthy living and cultural heritage however acknowledged the challenges faced by MSMEs, including insecurity, regulatory hurdles, and access to finance.

He assured participants that his administration was actively tackling these issues by streamlining processes, removing bottlenecks and enacting laws against extortion, including “matching ground.”

Also speaking, Benue State Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Orpin Alumo, noted that the MSMEs Clinic would mark the turning around of Benue State, moving it from a civil service state to an industrial state.

Also yesterday, the vice president visited  the Ichwa IDP camp in Makurdi, offering solace and support to those displaced by conflict.

He met with families, listened to their stories of loss and displacement and assured them of President Tinubu’s unwavering commitment to their well-being.

Shettima, promised continued humanitarian aid, explored avenues for skills development and livelihood opportunities within the camp, pledging to expedite the process of safe resettlement.

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